How do you forgive someone who isn’t sorry?

Forgive

I’ve been trying to forgive the same person for the past 20 years… and for most of that time, I thought I had forgiven this person…. but then something else happens and then I’m right back where I started.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my unforgiving heart… and I finally understand why it’s so hard for me. I’m quick to forgive someone who is full of remorse, someone who repents, someone who apologizes. But this person, no matter how many conversations we’ve had, has no remorse, no apologies… in fact, this person plays the victim and sincerely doesn’t believe that they’ve wronged anyone else. Therefore, it feels like a never-ending cycle.

One side says “just forgive and forget”–but have you tried forgetting pain? It’s really not that easy. The other side says “just cut that person out of your life and don’t even care about it.” Once again, it’s a lot harder when this person is in your life not by choice. I always want to do what is right… what is just. And I finally realized that this is going to be a life-long process for me. This may be something I struggle with for the rest of my life… and I have to accept that.

Couple years before my grandmother passed away, she told me that it took her over 30 years to forgive a relative of hers. At the time, I thought “that’s ridiculous… how horrible of my grandma to hold a grudge for so long…” But now I totally understand her heart, and her struggle.

I used to think forgiveness was a one-time deal… but I’m now understanding that it’s a process… it’s a journey. I don’t have the bitterness I once did… I’m more compassionate and patient towards this person… but I think I can safely say that I haven’t completely forgiven this person because it really doesn’t take much to take me back to that dark, hurt place. Before, it used to bother me that I couldn’t just get over it… but today, I understand that it’s okay for me to have these crazy feelings about it because I see how God has slowly been putting my heart back together one piece at a time. Forgiveness is a journey… and I’m not a horrible Christian for not being able to “forgive and forget” because I think God is the only One who can really do that in the purest way!

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2016: the year of mourning

Definition of mourning

1:  the act of sorrowing

bg-grievers

Mourning is often associated with grief over death of a person. Death is one of the most painful experiences in life. I’ve experienced mourning over loved ones. But this year, I also learned that mourning happens when you experience loss in other ways… and it’s even necessary. Nothing super catastrophic happened this year, however, 2016 felt so yucky. I’ve been thinking and processing through why I’m so eager to get rid of 2016 for the past few months, and I think it’s because I’ve spent great part of this year mourning, or sorrowing over loss of people, places, things, and ideas.

This year, I’ve mourned end or change in relationships. Some people come and go based on circumstances, proximity, or life stages. It’s hard to accept that some friendships change over time… and some even end. but I’ve had to accept the fact that some people who was once very close to me is no longer in my life for various reasons… and it’s okay.

I’ve mourned not being able to call myself an Angeleno. I moved to Los Angeles at the age of 13… and while I’ve lived in Northern California for few years during and after college, Los Angeles became my home. I thought I was ready for change and move to the bay area… but after having established Los Angeles as my home for close to 30 years, I realized how LA I’ve become… and how much of a city girl I’ve become. I still think Los Angeles is over-rated, but I’ve grieved over my familiar taken out of my life. I’ve grieved over not being able to go to the beach to clear my head, for Gloria-days, and just because I love the ocean. I’ve grieved over not having access to my favorite restaurants, museums, theatres, and even Disneyland. But most of all, I’ve grieved over not having my close friends and family at my arms reach. Texting and calling is just not the same as face to face interactions… and that was harder than I had ever imagined.

I’ve mourned aging of my grandfather and my dad. My last-living grandparent is 99 years old. He was so lucid and active even until couple years ago. But he is no longer than grandpa I’ve known and loved for so many years. He doesn’t remember that I’ve moved. We’re no longer able to talk about ministry nor life. Our conversation now consists of “please eat,” “are you well?” and “i love you.” And because he doesn’t remember our very short conversation 5 minutes ago, it’s groundhogs day for 2 hours that I see him whenever I visit LA. I miss my old grandpa who inspired and encourage me. My dad also turned 74 years old this year… and now that I don’t see him regularly, I see how much he has aged each visit. My heart aches as I see his physical ailments that come with aging. I grieve as I see him struggle through life of modern technology which is not-so-friendly for the aging population. I sorrow as I see the heartache he endures caring for his aging father and the frustrations of his family. He’s grown impatient. He’s grown less considerate. I have to work harder to recognize him because he’s not the father I grew up with. He used to take care of me… now he’s grown dependent on me. He’s aging… and that means he’s changing in ways that feels unfamiliar.

I’ve mourned over feelings of disappointment after disappointment after disappointment this past year. As cynical and pessimistic as I am, I still expect more and better of people in my family to people in my life to people in this world. I expect people to be loving. I expect people to be kind. I expect people to extend grace. I expect people to think of others ahead of oneself. I expect people to be honest. I expect people to have more empathy. I expect people to be more forgiving. I expect people to be responsible. I expect people to own up to their mistakes. Although I know that we’re all broken, nobody is perfect, and in need of redeemer, I expect people to try harder (I’m sure I’ve disappointed many people as well). Perhaps my expectations are too high or unreal… but as I’ve grieved over my feelings of disappointments throughout the year, I’ve had to reassess my expectations of people… and that was hard to swallow.

Throughout the year, I’ve learned that when something changes, whether it’s relationships, people, location, or even ideas, it’s important to mourn the loss of what once was and face new reality. It’s not easy… in fact, it often felt painful and sucky. But one can’t live in the past because that feels suckier. All this mourning throughout this year taught me more about myself… the way I think, the way I feel, the way I process, the way I react. I don’t expect 2017 to start off great all of a sudden. I expect to stay on this journey of mourning the loss but learning the embrace the new… and live each day with hope that comes from Jesus.

T.R.U.S.T.

trusttrust (noun \ˈtrəst\) by Merriam-Webster

: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.

: an arrangement in which someone’s property or money is legally held or managed by someone else or by an organization for a set period of time

: an organization that results from the creation of a trust

 

“I think it’s hard to trust because we have experienced so many let downs in our lifetime… independence and self-reliance are often our self-defense mechanisms” these words came out of my mouth in my conversation with a friend this past weekend.  My friend confessed to me that for the first time in her life, she was relying on people to help her out.  She had experienced many difficulties in her life, and it was hard for her to ask people for help or rely on them.  It was hard to let herself trust people, even people in her church community.  As we prayed together, she thanked me for helping “trust” become part of her life again.  It was an amazing feeling to know that I could be trusted.

That evening, I was faced with having to trust someone else… but my heart was riddled with doubt.  To be fair, it’s not because this person couldn’t be trusted… but it was because I had experienced so many let downs in my lifetime.  See, I grew up with the mantra, “if you want something done right, you must do it yourself!”  And that mantra carried over to every aspect of my life… I’ve always hated group projects because I didn’t trust others to pull their weight.  I was okay with failing if I didn’t do the work… but I wasn’t okay failing if it’s because others didn’t do the shared work.

Unfortunately in this thing called life, we often have to journey with other people… and it requires trust.  Honestly, I don’t know how I made it this far with very little trust that I have.  Finally this person said “trust God.”  Ugh… the God-card!  Man, I hate the God-card.  I searched my heart…. and I uttered the words “I’m scared to trust God.”  I actually couldn’t believe I said that out loud!  It’s like this… it’s not that I don’t trust God… I do believe that God ultimately has the best plans… and that He indeed is trustworthy… But the reason why I was scared to trust God is because sometimes God allows us to go through painful valleys before we experience the ultimate joy.  I have experienced my share of painful valleys… and I definitely don’t feel like going through more of them.  Thus, I was reluctant to trust God nor anyone else… I wanted to take control of my own life thinking I could save myself the trouble!  Even as I see these words on my computer screen, I cringe!!!  What am I thinking??? That I have fail-proof plans up my sleeve?  Oh.. please…

Well, the words that came out of my mouth in my conversation with my friend earlier that day pierced my heart like a knife!  I often have the wisdom for someone else… but it’s so difficult to apply that wisdom in my own life… and it occurred to me that when I don’t trust others, I rob the joy of being trusted… and ultimately, I rob myself the joy of experiencing God’s plan of redemption through restored relationships.  Man, what a rebuke…

Every time I close my eyes, I see the word “TRUST.”  I think I’m slowly learning to TRUST…

and yes… I’ve been MIA for a while… I’m slowly getting my life together again… and gather my thoughts together again… hope to jot them down more often from now on…

Great Small Group Leaders for Kids…

I’ve been on a crazy RECRUITING mode for the past month!!!  Launching a new ministry and not knowing people has been a big challenge in terms of recruiting KidMin & youth leaders… I usually have no problem approaching potential volunteers, but when you don’t know who the potentials are in a sea of hundreds of people, it’s been a real big challenge.

I’ve had some GREAT conversations with few that are seeking to serve in KidMin or Youth… and I’ve been emphasizing over and over that their role isn’t to “lecture” and “transfer information.”  However, their role is to help foster and further explore and develop our main lessons so the kids can own what we talk for their lives to be transformed… that means they have to facilitate relevance, experience, exploration, and investing in the lives of kids…  I feel like I’m becoming a broken record (some of you are asking, what’s that?  look it up!), but I truly believe in this with all my heart…

Today, I came across this great blog regarding 3 characteristics of a GREAT teacher, and it really summed up what I was thinking… so of course I had to share!